June Market Update

Hello Summer!

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As we head into the long, hot days of summer, we are seeing that the Northern Virginia real estate market is in a “weird” place right now. It appears that some current buyers are creating unrealistic expectations while on the search for their new home – not every house is perfect, nor will it be. Each home has its flaws and sellers are not required to make houses “like new”. Home inspection list requests, multiple visits to the house with multiple inspectors (some licensed, some not) and extensive walk through items on or before the day of settlement are making selling a house even more difficult today than ever before. Unreasonable demands are being put on sellers and buyers in many cases are threatening not to close over last minute or minor issues that did not come up on the home inspection. Now, this isn’t happening in all cases, but it is in a lot of situations which is making the process more stressful than home selling normally is. It is my belief that buyers feel they are paying too much or are paying top dollar and because of shows they see HGTV, they feel the houses need to be nearly perfect. Hopefully, these demands will revert back to normal sooner rather than later. Time will tell.

So, what does this mean? It is more important today to have a professional Realtor, with years of experience on your side to guide you through the process, letting you know what is reasonable and expected and what is not. This is for both buyers and sellers. Please let me know if you or anyone you know may need my assistance.

As far as inventory goes, we are relatively flat week-over-week recently and sales remain strong. The issue remains the number of houses for sale are 18% below last year and 29% below 2 years ago and with sales remaining consistently high, we see prices increasing in some areas across the region. Now, not every market is strong, and not every house is seeing an escalation in value so please be sure to ask me what the right price is for your house if you are considering selling. Each area, house type, condition of the property and location dictate value today.

Stay dry and cool in these crazy summertime weather conditions.

 

Scott’s Market Minute 6/1/18

My weekly Market Minute live from Chantilly National Golf & Country Club. The rain has put a damper on the market … what do you think?

If you would like to talk more about your specific situation, please feel free to give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

Scott’s Market Minute 5/25/18

It’s the last week of May and inventory levels have….. Check out Scott’s latest Market Minute message to find out what’s going on in Northern Virginia!

Give me a call if you would like to talk about your situation. I can be reached at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net  Have a great weekend!!!

April Market Update

As we enter what is considered to be the “Spring MHoliday Social Shareables-Springarket” in real estate, we are lacking one thing that makes sales “spring”… houses to sell and houses to buy.  We have plenty of buyers looking and many more expressing an interest in becoming home owners, but very few houses coming on the market quickly enough to keep up with this demand. Now that we enter April, let’s hope the tide turns so we can have happy new homeowners.

As of the end of March, our months of supply of homes in Northern Virginia is at only 1.1 months which is extremely low. A balanced real estate market is considered a 6-month supply of houses to sell. With these low inventory levels, the result is the increase in escalating prices. We have multiple contracts on many listings with no sales to support these prices when it comes time for appraisal. As such, we are starting to see low appraisals in some instances. The financial crisis has put pressure on appraisers to be very conservative even when you have buyers willing to pay above list price. It has always been my belief that the true market value of a home is what someone is willing to pay for a property and what someone is willing to sell for when it is an arm’s length transaction. Appraisers need to be given latitude to make this happen, not be restricted when we are in the market we are experiencing. I say this within all reason of course and don’t believe buyers should just offer any price to get a house and expect it to appraise. But with justifiable support, houses should appraise for what the market bears. Professional real estate agents should take the time to meet with the appraiser to show them all the supporting documentation and reasoning behind the value of the house. This way, all parties can move forward with the financing of the home without appraisal concerns. This is our job and what we do.  Please call me to discuss if you are considering selling.

If you are considering buying, we can help position your offer to negotiate on your behalf to get the home you want, it is not an impossible task. We have helped numerous clients achieve their dream of home ownership and we can help you as well. Please call me to learn more.

Let’s hope April showers bring us more houses to sell!

March Market Update

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The housing market in Northern Virginia continues to be on fire…in certain price points.  Virtually anything under $450,000 that is in good shape, priced right and is not a condo is selling within days, above asking price with multiple contracts.  Places in the $500,000 – $650,000 price point that have been updated and show well are also selling quickly.  We have a lull in the $650,000 – $900,000 price range depending upon location.  And lastly, properties priced $1,000,000 – $1,200,000 are seeing great activity as well and are even receiving multiple offers in some cases.

In today’s fast paced market, buyers need to be very responsive when they see a home that is of interest to them because, in all likelihood, someone else is also interested in it.  This dynamic is giving some buyers, a little “buyer’s remorse”.  When people feel forced to make quick decisions, they are taking advantage of the home inspection void rights or HOA document review period to get out of contracts at a later point in the transaction.  If you are a buyer, be sure you are committed to the house you are buying and if you are not, be patient and write on one that you are willing to follow through on.  These situations are creating a lot of stress on sellers and it is hurting the buyers who were willing to commit to the purchase and eventual ownership of that home.  Of course, if there is a legitimate reason to back out, by all means exercise your rights to void.  Don’t “jump” for fear of loss, “jump” because it meets all of your criteria.

We have finally entered the rising interest rate environment we have been predicting the last few years.  Despite this, as previously mentioned, houses are still selling which is good for our sellers.  The rise in rates has caused some people to get off the fence about buying which is adding to the number of potential buyers in the market.  Luckily, the interest rates for mortgages are still historically low so it remains a matter of perspective when people say rates are high.  Experienced buyers know we are fortunate to have rates in the 4’s and will still seek home ownership even in this type of environment.

As you know, everyone’s situation is different so please call me to discuss your plans in more detail so I can give you the right advice whether buying or selling.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

February Market Update

Holiday Social Shareables-ValentinesDayThe Northern Virginia real estate market continues to gain momentum despite low inventory levels. There are many buyers in the market ready to buy the right home and in many cases, it is difficult to do so leaving them and their agent frustrated. Typically, this time of year we start to see houses come on the market, but we have not seen a week-over-week increase in inventory since the fourth week of September last year! That is an amazing run, hopefully it will change soon for our buyers. If you are considering selling, let’s get together to see how to position yourself for success in this market.

All indications are pointing for 2018 to be another great year for real estate sales, despite starting off with low inventory levels and increasing interest rates. Interest rates are projected to be in the high 4’s, possibly low 5’s by the end of the year – scary, NOT! When I first got into the business in 1988, rates were in the 12’s. Yes, the rate increase will have some impact but not substantially in my opinion. What could have a greater impact is escalating prices coupled with the higher mortgage interest rates. This may force some first-time buyers to sit on the sidelines because of qualification purposes or potential sellers staying in their houses longer because they don’t find it beneficial to relocate. As always, time will tell.

The low inventory levels are resulting in multiple contract situations in many cases, but not in every situation so it is important to have the right expectation when putting your house on the market. Upper end prices are taking longer to sell as is typically the case. Houses that have not been priced properly, are in poor condition or have undesirable lot conditions will accumulate days on the market as well. In these situations, it is critical to hire a professional to give you the proper guidance to maximize your sought-after results.  We are here to help you navigate the sale in these circumstances, so please call me to discuss your situation in more detail.

 

Scott’s Weekly Market Update

This week in the real estate market – inventory levels are at a 2 year low! Learn more in this week’s market minute message.

If you would like to talk more about your specific situation, give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

Have a great weekend!

Scott’s Weekly Market Update

Inventory levels are still low, but the market is just like the weather today “hot” (for January in Northern Virginia)! Learn more in Scott’s latest Market Minute message.

If you would like to talk about your specific situation, give me a call at 703-652-5777 or email me at scottmacdonald@remax.net

Scott’s Market Update

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Happy New Year! The temperatures in Northern Virginia are frigid, but the real estate market is anything but that. We are seeing activity throughout our area which is great for sellers. We had showings at our listings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve as well as New Year’s Day – it is crazy! One of our agents had an open house on New Year’s Eve and had 21 visitors…did I mention it is freezing outside?  I haven’t seen this much activity around this time of year in my career of 30+ years.

It is looking like 2018 will be a very good year in real estate – especially for sellers. We ended the year with inventory levels nearly 18% below last year which is 24% below the previous year. The lack of inventory is putting many sellers in the driver seat in the real estate market today. Buyers should not be concerned; more houses will be coming on the market as we enter the New Year and early spring market. Additionally, rates remain favorable and should stay within .5% of where they are today for 2018.

More good news – the tax reform that recently passed will not affect most of our area. The mortgage interest deduction (MID) is capped at $750,000 for new mortgages and our average sales price in Northern Virginia is $516,000 – so this won’t hinder those looking to buy from buying. Also, the deductibility of property taxes is capped at $10,000 so again, for the most part, we won’t see buyers shying away.

Lastly, the ability to avoid paying capital gains on your mortgage principal (if it was your principal residence 2 of the last 5 years) remained in place along with the limit of the gains at $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a married couple. This should help us with inventory levels as well! Again, all good things! If you have any questions about your current situation, please feel free to call me.

Have a great 2018 and please stay warm as we battle these icy cold temperatures.

Scott MacDonald 703-652-5777 or scottmacdonald@remax.net